Validity of university students' self-reported vaccination status after a meningococcal B outbreak

J Am Coll Health. 2022 Apr;70(3):824-829. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1772270. Epub 2020 Jul 16.


After an outbreak of meningococcal B (MenB) disease at a university, we surveyed students regarding their vaccination status 2 months and 20 months after campus-led vaccination campaigns and compared students' self-report to vaccination records. Nearly all participants accurately reported the number of vaccine doses at both visits. Among those who received two doses of the vaccine, accurate recall of the timing of MenB vaccination was 85.7% (95% CI: 82.7-88.6) in the short term and 62.9% (95% CI: 56.0-69.8) in the long term. After the outbreak, only one-third reported feeling 'very confident' in their MenB disease and vaccine knowledge. Our findings suggest that the validity of self-reported vaccination status among university students in an outbreak setting is high, but that if the duration of protection is unknown and additional doses of vaccine may be needed, documented vaccination records may be preferred over self-report to assess timing of vaccine receipt.

Keywords: Meningococcal disease; self-report; university students; vaccine; young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup B*
  • Self Report
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Vaccination